Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pepsi X Rape!

This week soft drink giant Pepsi and Japanese clothing company A Bathing Ape teamed up to produce a line of co-branded products promoting... rape!

Yes, it's the fun new Pepsi X Rape advertising blitz!

What's that...? Hold on... Ah, I'm being told that it most definitely does not say Rape, but AAPE, the name of the clothing line. My mistake.

In my defense, you've got to admit that's a pretty unfortunate choice of font there. Look at it! Tell me that doesn't look like it says "rape" at first glance. Go on, tell me!

Yes, they used Pepsi's official corporate font, but at a glance that first "A" looks mighty like an "R."

Why didn't they just use the official Aape logo, seen here? It appears to be set in Typewriter Gothic or some other such font. Then they could have avoided all the laughing and the pointing and the mocking.

Pepsi X Rape isn't just available on a subway poster, tucked away underground! It's plastered on many different items. Why not flash your own special Pepsi X Rape smartphone cover every time you take a photo of your dinner at the Thai restaurant! 

You can even proudly wear your message of Pepsi X Rape emblazoned on your chest for the whole world to see!

Or jot down your innermost thoughts in your Pepsi X Rape journal! Live For Now With Pepsi X Rape!

As a graphic designer I honestly do not understand how something like this could happen. One person didn't design this campaign while locked away in a broom closet. There were hundreds of people involved. There were brainstorming sessions to come up with marketing plan, legal teams on both sides deciding who'd get top billing and demanding each logo be the same size, numerous meetings with merchandising vendors to decide what products would be used, and dozens upon dozens of executives who all needed to sign off on it before the whole mess got sent to the various printers. 

Every time I design something where I work it has to be approved by at least twenty people. Maybe even more. Between Pepsi and A Bathing Ape it would not surprise me if this had to pass through the hands of five hundred people. Are you telling me that not even a single one of them noticed something was amiss with their logo? 

I was going to suggest that maybe a disgruntled designer might have done this on purpose to get even with one or both of the companies, but even if that happened there would have been fifty people above him that should have caught it.

I'm looking forward to next summer's fun new Coke X TORTURE promotion!


  1. Do you think this could be a case of 'no such thing as bad publicity'? A lot of people have been talking about Pepsi this week. Do you think this whole thing could have just been a tasteless publicity stunt?

  2. I suppose it's possible, Anonymous, if I may call you that. That'd be pretty despicable though to deliberately almost spell "rape" just to get attention.


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